Luke 1:47, “…my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”
It is one thing to have happiness; it is entirely another thing to have joy in the Lord. As I always say, happiness is fleeting because it is dependent on the circumstances. Joy in the Lord, however, lasts forever. Happiness seems to be the telos (end, goal) for many in our culture. Life is about “deserving happiness” and getting all the things you want to be happy: the perfect job, the perfect lover, wealth, notoriety, etc. All these things fade away. Jobs are lost and altered, and everyone retires; lovers die and even break your heart; wealth diminishes, and you do not take it with you when you die; and everyone’s notoriety eventually fades away into the obscurity of history.
We find these types of people everywhere. Also ubiquitous are jovial, laughing people. Yet so are frivolous people. But truly happy people? These kinds of people are not easy to find, even if they do have the perfect job, the perfect lover, wealth, and notoriety according to their subjective standards.
In Mary’s Magnificat, we read that she had joy in the Lord so much that she began rejoicing in Him. These kinds of people are even harder to find. People think happiness and God belong to one another just as much as fire and water do. They think they must either have God or happiness. If you want happiness, they think, you must take God out of your life; for many things we want that we think will make us happy, God prohibits such things (e.g. promiscuity, homosexuality, sex changes, etc.). We think we know what’s best to make us happy.
Yet we do not. If we did, finding happiness would not be a struggle for every single one of us. What brought Mary such utter joy? She saw the great thing God had done for her. The Saviour was promised ever since the Fall (Genesis 3:15). Eve did not give birth to the Saviour, neither did Sarah, or Esther, Ruth, or any other woman. Mary was the chosen one. God had chosen her to give birth to the world’s Saviour. There is no greater honour for a woman than to conceive and give birth to the Messiah.
Thus, we receive true joy when we see the great things God has done for us. I live in the wealthiest nation in the world, God brought me through the Army, He has provided recovery for my depression, has given me loving parents, has brought me through college and seminary, has given me a woman whom I can love, and, most of all, has forgiven me all my sins and has baptised me into Christ through the Holy Spirit. For all these things, and many more, I can say I am truly happy because God provides, God is faithful, and God is my salvation.
What can you say about your happiness? What is the source of your happiness? Is it in your things? Your status before others? Your lifestyle? Your money? Your sins? God? As soon as we forget God’s blessings and what He has done for each of us, our joy ceases. Always reflect, therefore, on what God has done for you through Christ and what He continues to do for you each and every day.